Wednesday, December 3, 2008

eye opening side events inside a historical city

Sitting down to write about what has been going on the past few days is a little overwhelming in my mind seeing as though so much has been going on. I haven't written in a couple days so I have a lot to say but I will limit it for now.

All of the side events have been really interesting and I have found that my favorite part of it is being able to listen to the question and answer portion of each. I went to a critical analysis of REDD on Tuesday put on by Friends of the Earth which opened my eyes to problems of reduction of deforestation and mainly programs that create reforestation in communities. Monoculture plantations create a perfect condition for exploitation of human rights and labor as well as degrade the environment. Most programs do not involve communities or when they are involved it is in a way that they are informed of what will be happening and the benefits that will occur. After the critical analysis portion, a woman from the Nature Conservancy said that these accusations are false and that they are in fact performing a great program in Bolivia that addresses all of these issues while implementing reforestation practices. In response to her, a man, who crazy enough was from this place in Bolivia, talked about how the benefits that the program promised had not been seen and that their culture had been completely ignored. The fact that this woman was preaching about her program just to be shut down from someone who was actually living in the area was quite an experience. To be in a place where these people could meet is really special. All of the people that I have the opportunity to listen to keeps blowing my mind.

It was hard to listen to all of these problems that indigenous people are facing while big NGO's are trying to help fight climate change but at the cost of their culture and land. Everyone had a really defeatist attitude. I felt helpless and still want to know how I could help on a personal level. Of course changing my consumption habits will help, but I just wish that these people's interests were being acknowledged on a larger level by other nations and by NGO's. I plan on finding time tomorrow to talk to Friends of the Earth to see what can be done.

On a brighter level. I went to the GreenPeace side event and felt really uplifted by their presentation on the Energy Revolution. There were a lot of positive things said about how energy aspects can change and I was happy to go to an event that provided solutions and hope.

Aside from the conference I am having a great time. A group of us went to the Cathedral in Poznan that is 1000 years old. Being in a building with all of that history was mind blowing, but unfortunately we were quickly escorted out since they closed basically at the same time we got there. Another highlight of this trip... one HUGE highlight... was going to the Sheraton Hotel bar and finding that the only other group of people there happened to be the US and Australian delegates! We had a couple drinks with them and talked a little which was pretty crazy. I talked to them a little but kept it brief knowing that my political ideals would clash with theirs... I didn't really want to get into it with them.... so a nice "hi"and "how are you enjoying Poznan" with a few pictures was a great encounter!

So that's my update for now and I will post again soon!

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